Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Monday, April 28, 2008


I feel like I am at the point where the race has taken over my life. I eat, breathe, run and sleep Badwater. Work is the only break I get! I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't love every minute of it. Dennis fixed my hazmat pants this weekend on the sewing machine, he shortened them by a few inches. I'm looking forward to wearing them this week. I should go out running near the landfill and scare everybody...

This Friday and Saturday is the expo for the Colorado Marathon at the Fort Collins Hilton on Prospect Rd. a few blocks west of College Ave. On Saturday I'll be there all day, from 10 am to 5 pm while runners pick up their race packets. I have a big display that I made on foam board with information about the fundraiser and the Badwater race. I'll have flyers there with postage paid envelopes for donations to the Cancer Care Fund.

The Foundation made up a cool flyer for the Badwater fundraiser. It has a background picture of the road between Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells. The one where it shows how desolate the road looks and the only shade is from the sparse little plants that grow about 6 inches high in the dirt on the shoulder of the highway.

I need to somehow get a run in tomorrow and I have to be at work for a meeting and a class in the middle of the day, and possibly be interviewed by the Coloradoan if we can work it in. If that doesn't work we will try for next week. I might have to skip the sauna. I wish there were more hours in the day, but I have to be back at work for a 12 hour shift on Wednesday.

I need my beauty rest.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


This week has been busy for me. I was due for an easy training week and I don't know when I would have found the time to do a lot of miles anyway. I did three 10 mile runs this week and that was all. Next week will be better.

I've been working on Badwater business. Nathan (my brother) and I got our reservations made for hotels, flights and rental car for our long weekend in Death Valley at the end of May.

Here's the itinerary: we're meeting in Las Vegas on Thursday morning, he'll pick up the rental car at the airport and my flight arrives about an hour after his, then we'll have to hit a Wal Mart (ADA donation oportunity) or Target and get some kind of a cheap cooler and all our supplies for my two days of running. We'll head to Furnace Creek and on Friday I'll run from Badwater to Stovepipe Wells, stay in Stovepipe Wells that night, and Saturday morning I'll run over Townes Pass to Panamint Springs. Then we'll drive the last 60+ miles of the course to Whitney Portal so I can review it in my head.

We'll drive back to Stovepipe Wells again Saturday night and return to Vegas in the morning on Sunday. I will fly back to Denver and Nathan will stay in Las Vegas for the afternoon for a cadaver conference.

Yes you read that right.

I don't have any more details, I'll let you know when I can find out more from him.

The down side to taking big chunks of time off work right now is that I have to squeeze my work days in tight, which gives me little time off in between shifts. I only had today off and I ran 10 miles at Horsetooth, still feeling slow from last week's effort. Afterwards I did 56 minutes in the sauna, my longest session yet. I was going to try for an hour but I was starting to feel claustrophobic and I checked my heart rate and it was in the 140s. Good enough.

My arms were peeling bad this week, I had to wear long sleeves at work because it looked like I had a disease. They itch!

I spent the rest of this afternoon working on my display for the Colorado Marathon expo next Saturday at the Hilton. I'll be there to spead the word about my fundraising effort at Badwater for the Foundation.

This week I was contacted by the local paper, they want to do a piece about running Badwater and I hope they'll focus on the fundraising aspect of it.

Saturday the 17th Dennis and I are invited to a fundraising event for the Foundation and we have to get dressed up for it! I have a black dress that I wore at my sister's wedding seven years ago. I had to dig it out, dust it off, and get it dry cleaned. I put it on and I have no idea what happened to my body since 2001 but my hips are a lot wider than they used to be! My weight hasn't changed, but something is different. I'm afraid to move too much in it. At work yesterday we were talking about solutions to the middle age "too tight dress phenomenon". I'm working on it.

The other stuff that's happening is I am having some crew fluctuations and uncertainty. Felix let me know a few weeks ago that he was concerned about finishing his bike race in time to make it to Badwater to pace me. He's doing a mountain bike ride on the Continental Divide and it's something like 1500 miles. The closer he gets to the race the more he feels uncertain about cutting himself too little time at the end. I'd love to have Felix there but I hate for him to have that on his mind while he's racing. He suggested a good alternate crewperson and I'm waiting to hear from him about whether he can commit.

Nathan won't be able to crew at the race because of another family commitment that overlaps, but his help crewing my training run on the race course at the end of May is going to be awesome.

As of this moment I am looking for two crew members who can also pace. I was describing my crewing needs to someone recently like this: I'm looking for two people with their heads screwed on straight who want to crew and pace at Badwater.

Then I realized that was an oxymoron.

I'm running the Colorado Marathon next Sunday and will try to get some good miles in throughout the week. Saturday I'll be at the Expo all day which will force me to rest before the marathon. I have to get up at 3:30 am Sunday to catch the bus up Poudre Canyon. I have a busy week at work ahead too.

It snowed in town yesterday, and this morning it was 28 degrees on my run. Will we ever have summer? Starting in May I plan to hit the sauna four days a week. I looked at my calendar and there are only 8 more weeks of training before I start to taper!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fashion statement

Not just a cool set of scrubs.

I have no financial interest in Sun Precautions, but this really is the most comfortable running outfit I've ever worn.

It keeps me cool and dry on a hot day like no other fabric and it has blocks most of the ultraviolet rays. It's like wearing sunscreen without the sticky mess. Wearing it this winter and spring I found it also keeps me warm as an extra layer when the wind is cold.

The only down sides to it are cost and sizing. The whole suit from head to toe cost about $220 but it's already paid for itself in comfort. I also would advise anyone ordering one of these suits to consider sizing, as everything is oversized. I am 5 ft 1 in tall and weigh 120 pounds, normally I wear a size 2 or 4 in regular street clothes. Anyone smaller than me is going to have a hard time fitting into it. I have the smallest sizes available in the suit and I needed to shorten the pants by about 3 inches.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


This weekend we went to Grand Junction for the Spring Desert Ultra 50 mile race. We stayed with Kirk and Keith, who just moved from Crested Butte to Grand Junction, and we took the Buffaloes along for the road trip. It's been a while since we did a family trip, since last summer.

I ran the 25 mile version of this race last year, and I remembered thinking how hard the 50 would have been. I made a note to myself to run the 50 this year as a training run for Badwater.

I made myself as tired as I could possibly get in the week before. Last week I did 40 miles before leaving for Grand Junction, including 4 Rock Repeats. Add that to 3 long days at work, one of my shifts was 14-plus hours. My one day off before the race was Friday and I packed, ran 5 miles in the morning, and then we drove to Grand Junction. I didn't sleep much the night before the race, only about 5 hours.

I woke up about 3 am because I had to use the bathroom and then I didn't get back to sleep. Keith, Kirk, and I got our stuff together and left to drive out to the race at 5:30. This race starts at 6:30 am. Dennis wasn't running, he planned to take care of the dogs in the morning and then meet us all at the halfway point of the race. Keith was running the 25 mile race so she only had to do one loop. Kirk & I were both doing the 50.

It was still dark when we parked at the starting area. There was a long line for the portapotties, and I got in line, hoping there would be enough time. But I was amazed at the speed of the line, it went so fast. I was trying to figure out why, and then I realized I was one of the oldest people there. Looking around, the race was full of 20 and 30 year olds. At most of the ultras I'm used to, the average age is more like 50 to 60, sometimes older.

I finally figured out the answer to the problem of long waits in the lines for the portapotties at ultras! Start handing out Flomax and prune juice!

I felt exceptionally good in the first few hours of the race, I took off at a decent pace and felt strong running all morning. It was clear and warm, and by the time we got over the big first climb and dropped down to the shelf above the Colorado River, the sun was coming up over the mesa.

It was completely quiet except for the vultures and hawks flying around above us. The morning light was shining on the different shades of red in the sandstone cliffs, there was a lining of spring green leaves along the both sides of the river 500 feet below us, and there were dots of dark green juniper on the sides of the mesa. The light was falling on the river between the canyons and I had to keep stopping to look.

After the third aid station there is a long stretch of the Kokopelli trail that I remembered from last year to bring extra capacity for water. I remembered it being hot and a long way. I ran out of water on this stretch but I'd been well-hydrated, I was peeing every half hour. I got to the fourth aid station and started thinking through what I'd need to get out of my drop bags at the turnaround at 25 miles. It was getting warm.

Then I remembered that Dennis would be there, maybe he would have ice in the cooler. As I approached the turnaround I started to feel tired. My legs felt fine but my head felt fuzzy, I think it was sleep deprivation. I was having a hard time concentrating and remembering what I needed.

I arrived at the turnaround at 5 hours and 27 minutes, a half hour faster than I ran the 25 last year. Dennis was there with the cooler, and he had ice and COLD gatorade! I sat down and went through my drop bag, trying to remember the mental list I'd made on the way in. Then it seemed like all these people wanted to talk to me. I was afraid I'd leave the aid station without something important for the second half.

I felt super crabby and I snapped at everyone. I need to get my stuff and get out. I can't talk to you now. I felt like the biggest bitch but I was mad, tired, and I needed to concentrate on what I was doing and here comes everyone wanting to chat, distracting me. I thought, they're finished with their race but I'm only halfway. I felt super irritable, I was thinking, get out of my face! Keith told me later that I wasn't bad at all, but I felt like I was. I did thank Dennis for bringing the stuff, that was a lifesaver. I only spent 10 minutes in the aid station but it felt like forever.

Stuffing my face with crackers at the halfway point. I was hungry, tired and mean.

I ended up taking three iced water bottles with me, which was important. I forgot my carb boom gel, which was also important. I did remember to take some magnesium capsules and salty crackers. But I forgot to bring a lightweight shirt in case I was out late and it got cool. The best thing I did was to fill my ice bandana with ice cubes and wrapped it around my neck before I took off.

I took off and and ran down the road, the ice crunching and bouncing on my shoulders. By the time I got to the first climb I realized I had forgotten my gels. Damn! The variety of hammer gel flavors available at the aid stations gets worse as the race goes on. Vanilla hammer gel tastes like liquid cardboard, and I can only deal with so much chocolate and espresso flavored gel. My poor stomach. I was eating wind-dried, dust coated bananas, pretzels, and gel.

Nothing else sounded good. I tried a PBJ on a tortilla and it gave me the chills, I spit it out. I can do PBJ all day long on bread at work, but on a warm, dried out tortilla sitting for hours in the sun and wind at the aid station, UGH! I was still mad about forgetting my gels and a shirt for the evening. I felt extremely irritable. I stayed away from the other runners, passing them and running ahead, or purposely following them at good distance so I wouldn't have to interact.

It was getting warm and windy, and the dust was picking up with little dust devils. I had my hazmat hat on which has a chinstrap, fortunately, or I would have lost my hat. Everyone on the turnaround was complaining about the heat. I felt great, plus I had that little sack of ice around my neck. The temperatures were in the mid-70 range, but the rocks and dirt were hot. The ice on my neck lasted two and a half hours. In Badwater it would have lasted 5 minutes.

My legs felt fine and I ran a good portion of the second half. After I got through the aid station after the long stretch, I started to feel less irritable and started conversations with a few runners along the middle section. The wind was getting stronger and it was hard to run against it. Walking was easier above the river. I saw a lot of lizards. There were these cool looking lizards with brown heads, turquoise green bodies, and yellow feet. I saw a big one, and I thought maybe I was hallucinating, but then I saw another one later that looked just like it, so I'm pretty sure my head was still working.

I was concerned that I wouldn't make the time cutoff of 13 hours at the finish. I had told Dennis at the turnaround not to worry about me if I was pushing the time cutoff. I told Keith not to wait for me if they were hungry, that they should go get dinner and then come back to get me at the finish.

By ten hours into the race, the sun was starting to get lower and I knew I could make it in 13 hours, but I was worried that it would start to get cool and dark. I kept moving. When I got through the last aid station just before 11 hours, it was still warm. I had a good hour's worth of climbing ahead of me before the final descent. It's about a 2000 foot climb and descent in the last 6 miles. It felt like the never ending climb.

I was strong the whole way but I started to feel grumpy again. My stomach felt funny. I wasn't nauseated, on my well-balanced diet of vanilla, banana and chocolate hammer gel. Every time I thought I was at the top, I came around a bend and there were more switchbacks. I was ready for it to be over! Finally, I hit the top and I was on top of the mesa, on the cliff, looking down over a thousand feet below to more layers of cliffs and the river, and the wind was howling, blowing me from the side. Fortunately it was blowing me into the rocks instead of over the cliff!

I was in a bad mood again and I had to run down about a thousand feet on rocky switchbacks and loose dirt. I am not the greatest trail runner to begin with, and I was tired and having a hard time concentrating. I didn't trip too many times, but I was cautious, and that made my descent slower.

I figured I'd make the 13 hour cutoff just barely, and I didn't even care at that point if I officially finished under the cutoff, I was going to finish the distance anyway. I thought about what I accomplished this week and felt good. I got what I asked for. I wanted a tough, long race to make me push through my fatigue. I ran 90 miles, got 12,000 feet each of vertical climb and descent, I worked three long shifts, and didn't get any rest before the race. I thought about how tough Badwater will be, how tired I'll be at 90 miles, and how glad I will be that I did this in training.

That was enough to snap me out of my bad mood. My friend Snakebite always said when you finish a race close to the time cutoff, you're getting your money's worth.

As it turned out the descent was really fast. I finished in 12 hours, 30 minutes, and 18 seconds. Kirk, Keith and Dennis were at the finish line, yelling TOWANDA! and doing the wave. They had more cold gatorade and pizza.

finishing in 12 and a half hours, my slowest and toughest 50 mile race ever.

A few minutes after my finish, a cold gatorade and I'm ready for another loop. Kirk (center) finished a couple of hours earlier.

I didn't take any foot pictures this time, because my feet were good. No blisters. Just a little heat rash, but I had no pain and my muscles feel good. When I got out of the car at Kirk & Keith's house in Grand Junction, I was sunburned, dusty, and exhausted, but I could easily do more miles, I just needed some sleep. This is easy, compared to Badwater.

I did get elbow pictures. I completely fried my arms, this was the first time all year I haven't had my arms covered up, and only the third time I've run in shorts all year.

I can't be in bad shape after a week like this if the only things that hurt are my elbows. I feel ready to go out and hit the road again, but I'm forcing myself to take Sunday off.

Sunday on our way back we stopped in Glenwood Springs to see Ken. He is doing well since his move there from Grand Junction in January, and he's charged up about Badwater. I called Steph when we got home and we did some strategizing on the phone. Things are falling into place, I feel like I'm where I need to be with three months to go.

In May I'll be in the sauna four days a week, I have some long runs and races planned, some fundraising-related events, and I'll be busy. Right now anything that doesn't have to do with Badwater is "A.B."

That's After Badwater.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


"You must be a busy woman, multi-tasking in the sauna by making lists."

That's what the guy said to me this morning when he walked in the sauna while I was sitting there, figuring out what I need to pack for this weekend's race. His voice startled me, I was so focused. I didn't even hear him come in, or notice a blast of cool air when he opened the door.

Before my 40 minute sauna session at 160 degrees, I ran 15 miles on the bike path and felt slightly tired, but good. I had to force myself to walk for 5 minutes after every 20 minutes of running because I was pushing the pace without even realizing it. I thought I'd be more exhausted today. Yesterday I was off work but I had a 12 hour day packed with workouts, errands, and then 3 hours at work between a class and a staff meeting.

We finally hit 70 degrees Tuesday! Winter felt endless this year, and it could come back any day, but I don't care. The high temperature in southern California finally topped out over 100 and I feel like my time in the sauna is worthwhile. When the heat returns, I get all my energy back. I'm charged up. BRING IT ON!

Except I didn't get to run in the afternoon on Tuesday.

I had too many errands I had to do in the afternoon so I needed to get my run done early. It looked like a nice day. I decided to put shorts on and expose my blinding white legs to the sun. I've been covered up all winter and usually by now I have a good tan on my wrist from my watch, but not this year. I am the whitest I've ever been. I know it's good for me. But I don't want to go out to Death Valley completely white, or I'll burn with any exposure.

I had warm temperatures and a dust storm in the morning up in the park. It was a lot warmer up there than it was in town. I ran 4 Rock Repeats for a total of 20 miles and 4000 feet of vertical. Three and a half hours was all it took. I felt great and could have pushed much harder but I wanted to save something for this weekend.

I am going to attempt to get 90 to 100 miles in this week, including my 50 mile race in Fruita this Saturday. I want to go into that race tired and push through my fatigue. I am hoping this hot weather will last and we get a nice warm day on the Kokopelli trail.

Tuesday's run helped me think of a few pieces of equipment I don't want to forget at Badwater: a pair of swim goggles and some other piece of cloth to wrap around my face to keep the dust out. My first 2 rock repeats started out with strong wind gusts and with last weekend's warm temperatures the dirt road is completely dried out and dusty where I was running on snow just a few weeks ago.

The wind whipped up a few good dust devils and I was wearing shorts! My legs got sandblasted! Not to mention all the crunchy grit I got in my teeth. I could have used those swim goggles to keep the dust out of my eyes.

I also got some cross-training in: snake-hopping. In Arizona we always knew the heat was there to stay when the snakes started coming out. For me, the date of the first snake sighting is the first day of summer.

Today I saw my first snake of the season, as I was coming down the trail to the parking lot after my second rock repeat. It was a cute, skinny snake with a green head and long orange stripes. It was stretched all the way across the width of the trail. It surprised me and I jumped over it.

The bull snakes and rattlers will be following soon, I am sure I'll be jumping over them before long. At least the snakes here aren't as aggressive as the ones in Arizona.

Tuesday after the run, when I got in the car, it was hot inside! I resisted the temptation to roll down the windows. Instead, I cranked up the heat. I drove the 20 minutes back home with the windows up and the heater cranked as high and hot as it would go. I stopped off at Runner's Roost for another pair of shoes, then went home and got my frozen water bottles, and drove to the club for a 30 minute sauna session.

When I got home, my Hazmat pants arrived. I got the first ones I ordered last week and they were too big. I ordered XS based on the sizing chart in the catalog, but I needed XXS. The XXS ones fit better but they are still like parachutes and are too long. I'm not that skinny and I'm not that tall. Anyone smaller than me wouldn't be able to wear the Hazmat outfit.

I plan to sew those pants up while we're on the way to Grand Junction this weekend, maybe I can get them to stay on without tripping over them.

Otherwise, not much to report. I am feeling pretty good. It's been busy at work and the past 2 days I had one day where I worked over 14 hours without a break followed by another busy day without a break, but only 12 hours. PBJs saved me. I'm not as tired as I thought I might be.

Speaking of tired, I got my thyroid results back and as I suspected, I was headed in the wrong direction with my TSH. About a month ago, after I'd been back to working days for a while, I felt like something wasn't quite right. There's a sharpness that I feel in my mind and in how my body feels when I run.

I don't have any other way to describe it except that I feel dull, like I'm losing my edge. Kind of like a blade that gets dull. My doctor is awesome, though. She's working with me to keep my thyroid in check while I place such heavy demands on my body. I am not sure how it works but it seems like I'm using up all the thyroid replacement. My free T4 was lower, too, which would make sense if I'm using it up.

We're going to slightly increase my dose of thyroxine every other day. And I have three months to get everything balanced out, which should work out perfectly.

The only advantage to hypothyroidism is that it helps you tolerate the heat better. You feel cold all the time, so any heat feels great. The year I paced Ken at Badwater I felt fantastic in the heat, but I was slow, heavy, and sluggish in mind, body, and spirit. Been there, done that. I don't want to GO THERE again.

On the other hand, I don't want to end up back where I was last summer, which was too hyperthyroid, which is not only bad for tolerating heat, it's not good for your heart or bones. It isn't good for much of anything except having way too much energy, being overly emotional, and driving everyone around you crazy.

The only issue that I foresee at this point is trying to convince Dennis that we don't need air conditioning in the house this year. Now that it warms up in the afternoon and we have the heat off in the house, he will start complaining about how hot it is upstairs in the bedroom.

Last summer we slept in the basement during the hottest part of the summer. While he was complaining, I was thinking, next year this will be good training for Badwater!

I am hoping I can get him to hold off until August, and by then it will be cooling off at night again, and he'll forget. For the next three months, he'll be sleeping on the futon in the basement. (That's where I found him this morning.)

Don't tell him I said that.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sauna weather

This is what it looks like outside today. I just got back from 12 miles on the bike path followed by 3 miles with the Buffaloes. It was 34 degrees when I started and 39 degrees now, but the snow was blowing horizontally and freezing one side of my face in each direction.

I was warm enough except for my exposed skin. I wore 4 layers on top, and a pair of tights under my windpants. It's hard to believe that in just 13 weeks I'll be running in conditions up to 100 degrees hotter. There's nothing I can do but hit the sauna...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Drying out

Sunday was a long day. I started out at 7 am with a hard 9 mile run followed by two hours of picking up trash with the running club along the Horsetooth Half Marathon course.

After the trash pickup I went to the sauna but didn't feel so great. Usually it takes me almost 10 minutes to start pouring sweat but I started sweating as soon as I got in there. My heart rate went up to about 130, it never goes that high when I'm just sitting there. I was having a hard time tolerating the heat. I only did 22 minutes.

I went home and slept for two hours and then got a call about work, we were short on staff that night and they wanted to know if I could work a night shift. I had my nap, and I felt like I was just waiting around for work on Monday morning, so I might as well get it done. Plus a little extra pay for short notice and night shift can only help my Badwater budget.

When I got into work, I started feeling hot again. I didn't feel sick but I was burning up! I usually wear a long sleeved shirt under my scrub top, but I couldn't do it. I went to work dressed for summer and I was warm all night.

I hope I wasn't having hot flashes! At my age, anything is possible. I can't imagine having a hot flash in the sauna though. I hope I don't have any at Badwater!

My skin is so dry these days. I always have to put a ton of lotion on my hands since I wash them so much, but when I touched my hair after my last sauna session, I couldn't believe how dry my hair was! I'm sure it's the sauna. It never occurred to me that just a few minutes in the dry heat of the sauna would dry out my hair and skin so much. I'll have to start using more conditioner on my hair, or doing something to protect it.

Monday morning when I got off work at 7:30 it was raining and snowing. Good sleeping weather. It has been so cold and wet this spring so far. Tonight it's raining again. I got my run in this morning before all the rain started. I froze throughout my entire run, even though I had layers on. Maybe this sauna training is starting to work.

I worked my regular day shift on Tuesday but I got off work early since it was slow, so I ran 10 miles hard on Horsetooth. I had a cold headwind coming up the hills as I ran south, and I managed to run a fast pace in the conditions. This morning I did 20 miles and pushed the pace again but after about 14 miles I was feeling it. I mixed in some fast walking and took the girls for a run for the last few miles.

This afternoon I needed to get blood drawn for my thyroid check so I went over to the lab, and they had to poke me four times before they got any blood! I must have been dehydrated. Fortunately they only needed to take one tube of blood. I hate it when they take a lot of blood, I need those red blood cells! My slow ultra muscles need all the oxygen they can get.

After the lab I knew I needed to drink plenty of water in the sauna, and I drank about a gallon of electrolyte mix and water. I felt pretty good in there today. I did 35 minutes at 160 degrees and no hot flashes!

The weather is supposed to be cold and wet tomorrow and I need to get 15 miles in. I will probably have to wear about 4 layers to deal with the cold. I'm starting to wonder if we'll ever have any warm days again, 95 degrees would be perfect, but I'd settle for 60 at this point. The dry frozen trails are turning to mud. Now I'll have to wait for them to dry out.

Next weekend is the 50 mile race in Fruita. Dry, hot weather, please!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Training for Hell: Frequently Asked Questions

"You're already well-acclimated to hell!"

That was what my co-worker said to me the other day. We were talking about going to the health club we joined. She goes there to do normal workouts and I go there for the sauna. That was after we were discussing whether either of us were material fit for salvation, after an attempt by someone to "convert" her.

I guess it's true that I am training for hell. Everyone tells me I'm crazy and I'm used to it, I take it as a compliment. They ask me how I manage to run all those miles and work full-time, doing 12-plus hour shifts, and fit it all in my life.

It takes some creativity to fit everything in. The thing I struggle with is eating enough when I don't have time to cook, and nurses are notoriously bad about taking breaks. Often we don't get a chance to eat lunch until late in the day, if at all. If we're lucky enough a vendor will come by with a big bowl of chocolate when they do an inservice on some new gadget.

I live on peanut butter and jelly. I make four sandwiches in the morning before work and I eat them throughout the day. If I'm lucky enough to take a real lunch break, I'll eat whatever I brought for lunch too. It's easy to hide out in a corner and scarf down a PBJ in 30 seconds when your hands are shaking from hypoglycemia.

Until last fall I didn't realize that my increased caloric needs extend into my work days, even after I feel recovered from training. I can eat a big breakfast before work and a PBJ at 7 am during report, then I need another PBJ by 9 am, and usually another one before I break for lunch. Then I usually have to eat the last one around 5:00 to make it through the end of the shift.

The other thing that I have to do is take easy weeks. Last week I did 100 miles but this week I'll be lucky to do 20. Every three to four weeks I cut back drastically on my mileage, spend more time in the sauna, and catch up on all the things in my life that I've neglected when I'm running 4 to 8 hours a day or more.

I went into a cooking frenzy since my run last week. I baked a carrot cake, made mango-pineapple and tomatillo salsa for the leftover tamales from Christmas, and today I'm off work so I'm making Vietnamese roasted chicken with dirty sticky rice. That's what happens when I don't run, all my energy explodes into some other creative outlet. I'd love to be painting but I can't sit still that long!

The other thing I get asked is, "Where do you get your energy?" It runs in the family. My dad is going on 67 and he runs too, but on a treadmill, and he works out with a personal trainer. Some weeks my dad runs more miles than I do. Every time we talk, he tells me about his workouts. I keep asking when he's going to run an ultra.

The thing about my dad is, he has TWO treadmills. I found this out recently in a casual conversation. I asked him why he needs two???!

He said, "So I don't wear one out."

It's not unusual for runners to have two pairs of running shoes at a time. They switch off to keep from wearing out one pair too fast. (Personally I don't do this, I just replace my shoes frequently, as often as every 3 weeks these days) But TWO TREADMILLS?

Do you see a pattern here? I can't help it, it's in the genes.